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A fresh year freshwater experience
  |  First Published: December 2016



The silly season is over, but the school holidays are in full swing. There’s no better time than now to take the kids outdoors to experience all things fishy. Apart from actually catching fish, kids and adults alike can have just as much fun collecting bait.

Yabbies, also known as craw bobs or ‘crawchies’, are great fun to catch. A simple rig consisting of some nylon fishing line tied to a stick at one end and a piece of raw meat on the other can be enough. I prefer bloody meat like liver or heart that I pick up from the local butcher shop for less than it would cost for a cup of coffee.

To know if you’re getting bites from a yabby on the line, you’ll see the line pull tight and then it’s a matter of very slowly and steadily bringing it close to the bank. Yabbies close to the bank need a small net to slide in behind them to catch. Do this slowly, as they’re easy to spook. There is a possession limit of 200 per person, but please limit your catch not catch your limit. Only take what you need for your fishing trip.

Murray cod

The Murray cod season is underway and the reports have been great. During the breeding season, optimal rain created great conditions for the fish. The years ahead should be in good hands, provided we respect these iconic fish.

Everything from surface lures, spinnerbaits, hardbody lures and flies have been taking them with gusto. Chances are, if you’re not bumping into a few natives now, you should try a different location. The Peel and Namoi have been fishing well. Around Attunga and the Namoi below Split Rock Dam are the standouts for me.

My favourite lure type for chasing cod at this time of year is the humble hardbody lure. Popular inclusions in my tackle box include the size 2 StumpJumper, Feralcatt lures and Balista Dyno 75s, but recent additions include the Eden lures range of divers and Honey Hole Lures. Higher than normal water flows have created backwaters and eddies behind timber snags and boulders – these are the areas to target with lures.

Golden perch

Golden perch have been going off one week, then gone the next. When they’re on, catches of 10-20 fish per session are far from uncommon. Split Rock Dam has been the pick of our three main bodies of water. The fish at this time of year are generally found a little deeper. I find the optimum depth between 3.5-5m.

If you’re a lure caster, lipless crankbaits like the Jackall range of TNs or the Viva Mazzy Vib are the cream of the crop. Other lures worth their weight in gold-en perch are the vast variety of blades that have been so prevalent in the tournament arenas for the best part of the decade. Lake Keepit and Chaffey Dam are worth a shot – the high dam level makes a lot of new ground and bait, so the fish you come across will be fat and healthy.

At Lake Keepit, bobbing a few shrimp around the trees in the old riverbed is a sure-fire way to hook into a mixed bag of goldens, catfish and Murray cod. Trolling lures around these same areas is also highly successful.

Carp

Although our European carp have a bad reputation, I cannot deny how much fun these introduced species can be. It has been my pleasure in recent weeks to take my work clients out to catch a few fish (I work in the disability industry), and I decided carp would be the target species to start with – a rod or handline, a few hooks and sinkers and a loaf of bread was all that was needed to get us started.

Almost all freshwater waterways in the Tamworth region will have populations of carp. We started in the Peel River in the heart of town and were not disappointed. Our first trip yielded three fish, all around the 5-6lb mark and put up a great fight, teaching those who had not fished before the valuable skills of angling and how to fight a fish properly.

So if your just getting started fishing, getting the kids into fishing or taking someone who has never fished before – I suggest try your luck at carp fishing, it’s fun, easy and generally action packed.

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